Ben Lowry: The UK refuses to use its vast influence in the US to challenge Ireland on terrorism
Once again, General David Petraeus has defended the British military amid shameful things that are happening on legacy of our Troubles.
Once again, the News Letter, almost alone, used his comments.
We reproduced an article (see link below) in which he said: “The extent to which those who served decades ago in Northern Ireland, including the highly distinguished [92-year-old] soldier-scholar General Sir Frank Kitson, remain exposed to legal risk is striking and appalling.”
Such support from one of America’s top soldiers for our UK military leaders, who live in fear of a disgrace that no IRA leader fears, got no traction yet the media lapped up an anti Brexit tour by US congress members, led by Nancy Pelosi.
On their visit to Stormont in April, I wanted to ask them if, in their melodramatic visit to the border, it had occurred to them that the border was once policed vigilantly to contain a long terror campaign, in which the IRA would flee to safety in the Republic.
I was not called to question them (others including RTE were called).
The UK uses little of its vast soft power in Washington to challenge a subtly pro terror narrative on NI.
Britain could be far more influential than Irish America, if only the Foreign Office was inclined to use it (as opposed to joining the NIO in agreeing with Irish officials).
After World War II every American of note, from Franklin D Roosevelt to Dwight D Eisenhower, as well as Westminster politicians across the spectrum, such as Clement Attlee , knew Ireland had determinedly stayed out of an existential fight against Hitler, years after it was clear he was deranged.
Recently, when even the hawkish, pro British John Bolton held office in the US, the UK failed to challenge the laughable assertion of Leo Varadkar (the man who showed European leaders a picture of an IRA attack on a customs post)that Donald Trump was pro the backstop. A man who wants a wall on the Mexican border supposedly agreed that the UK was right to rule out using CCTV at its own frontier!
• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor
• General Petraeus: Legal threat to veterans is unfair